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WEEKLY DIG January 17, 2001

Trances and Drones

Round Wound

The path to musical enlightenment takes a detour through Brighton, Massachusetts, as Abunai! (meaning watch out! or rock out! in Japanese, depending on who you talk to) takes the long, winding road and twists it into an aural amalgam worthy of a laser light show at the Mugar Omni (and one that would be a far more uplifting experience than the current rash of LightBizkit or Nine Inch Lasers). The quartet -- guitarist Brendan Quinn and drummer Joe Turner (who are also responsible for recording Round Wound), keyboardist Kris Thompson and bassist Dan Parmenter -- have woven a complex web of musical intricacies, realized in twenty-one overlapping tracks of various durations; sonic bits with names like 'Altairan Excavation Site' and 'LT.TOP.HVY.BTM', (perhaps a play on the CD packaging itself, which is designed to imitate a sleeve of guitar strings). How Australian specialty label Camera Obscura came across these MA natives is anyone's guess; the bizarre connections within the experimental / psych music set are about as intangible as Abunai!'s music itself. Clouds of hazy feedback, ringing guitar notes and swirling space-age keyboard atmospherics punctuate the disc; it's the kind of music that Terrastock brethren SubArachnoid Space would appreciate, as the two outfits are as close as any to being kindred spirits. The centerpiece of the album, the thirteen-minute epic 'Drowning in Light' is simply superb, superceding every facet of ordinary and threatening to take on an artificial intelligence of its own. A true exercise in multi-track recording (opener 'Sound Museum' -- a reference to the edifice that houses their rehearsal space -- boasts twenty layers of instrumentation), Round Wound is a wondrous excursion through the time-space continuum. (Camera Obscura) www.abunai.com and www.cameraobscura.com.au

- J. Bennett

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